Garmin Vivofit vs. Garmin Vivosmart: Activity Trackers for Every Kind of Athlete

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Garmin Vivofit vs. Garmin Vivosmart: Activity Trackers for Every Kind of Athlete

Garmin may be known for its top-of-the-line GPS watches, but the company also offers another line of wearables with its popular activity trackers, including the Vivofit and the Vivosmart.

If these similar-sounding names are getting confusing in your search for the right tracker, let us help you break down the differences. We’ve compared the Garmin Vivofit to its more advanced sibling, the Garmin Vivosmart. Read on to see which one might be the right wearable for you.

At a glance

What we found: The Vivofit is $50 less expensive than its counterpart, the Vivosmart.

What you’ll learn: The Garmin Vivosmart has a leg up on the Vivofit, with features such as smart notifications and music control through a compatible smartphone. Hence “smart” in the name.

 Garmin VivofitGarmin Vivosmart
Price$99.99 from Garmin$149.99 from Garmin
ColorsBlack, purple, teal, blue, slate, redBerry, blue, black, slate, purple, green
Display size (in inches)1x0.391.35x0.14
DisplayLCDOLED
Battery lifeMore than a yearUp to 7 days
Water rating5 ATM5 ATM
Smart notificationsNoYes
Music controlNoYes
Buy on Amazon
Buy Garmin Vivofit
Buy Garmin Vivosmart

Design

Garmin Vivofit

Garmin Vivofit

Both the Vivofit and Vivosmart are slim, activity-tracking wearable bands that look like bracelets.

The Vivofit has an LCD screen that measures 1 inch by 0.39 of an inch; the Vivosmart has a touch-screen OLED display that measures 1.35 inches by 0.14 of an inch. Since the Vivofit isn’t touch screen, users navigate the device via a push-button located next to the display.

The Vivofit is heavier than the Vivosmart (25.5 grams for the Vivofit compared with 18.7-19 grams for the Vivosmart, depending on the size you choose).

Both bands have identical 5 ATM water ratings, which means they’re water-resistant up to 50 meters. They’re also each sold in a variety of colors.

» COMPARE: Which Fitbit is best for you?

Features

Garmin Vivosmart

Garmin Vivosmart

Let’s take a look at the things you can do with both of these wearables:

  • Track your activity. Follow your daily progress toward goals in categories such as steps taken, distance traveled and calories burned.
  • Pair it with a heart rate monitor. If you so choose, these bands can be paired with heart rate monitors to track your heart rate while you work out. If you’d like a heart rate monitor, you can purchase a Vivofit or Vivosmart bundle that includes one.
  • Get inactivity reminders. You won’t have to worry about sitting in one place for too long, thanks to reminders that tell you when it’s time to move.
  • Wear it all day long. They are designed for 24/7 wear, so you can keep your band on while you shower and while you sleep, as both versions provide sleep monitoring.
  • Connect it to your mobile device. Sync your band via Bluetooth to a compatible smartphone to see your progress on the Garmin Connect app.

The bands’ features are not all equal, though. The Vivosmart has some added features and functionality:

  • Get smart notifications. Connect a compatible Bluetooth device to receive text, email and call vibrations and display alerts on your Vivosmart.
  • Control your music. Control music from your compatible smartphone.
  • Automatically sync your stats. Thanks to Garmin Connect’s automatic sync feature, your data will be automatically transferred from your band to your computer.

In at least one category, the more affordable Vivofit is more appealing. Thanks to its two replaceable coin cell batteries, the Vivofit can last for more than a year before its batteries need to be replaced. The Vivosmart has a rechargeable lithium battery that wearers will need to recharge roughly every seven days.

» MORE: Garmin Vivoactive HR vs. Fitbit Surge

Price

The Garmin Vivofit retails for $99.99; that’s $50 less than the Vivosmart, which has a price tag of $149.99.

If you’re looking for a deal, we recommend buying your fitness wearable from Amazon, where we’ve spotted significant discounts on both of these products in the past.

Regardless of the deal you snag, with prices around or over $100, we recommend purchasing either of these products with a rewards credit card that can earn you cash back to maximize your savings.

Note: Garmin also sells a Vivofit bundle with a heart rate monitor for $129.99 and a Vivosmart bundle with a heart rate monitor for $179.99.

Grab your Garmin

So which Vivo tracker will maximize your fitness life?

Introductory fitness wearable consumers can get by with the Garmin Vivofit. It has all of the staple features you’re looking for in a tracker, with a price tag under $100. But the Vivosmart can take your sport tracking to the next level with smart notifications, music control and a sleek design with a touch-screen display.

And if you’re looking for a tracker that has a heart rate monitor and GPS built in, take a look at the Vivoactive HR, Garmin’s pricier tracker.

Courtney Jespersen is a staff writer at NerdWallet, a personal finance website. Email: courtney@nerdwallet.com. Twitter: @courtneynerd.